This past weekend, we all got a taste of spring, and some would argue, summer! The sun was shining, flowers were blooming and flip flops and shorts were in full swing. Spring appeared to finally be here! In the month of April, we not only get to celebrate nicer weather and opening day for the O’s, we have the distinct opportunity to thank the people who make us want to roll down the windows, take in the sunshine, turn up the tunes and SING – to our VOLUNTEERS.
United Way volunteers are hands down the best volunteers. They pour their time, their energy and their hearts into every United Way event they participate in – whether it be guiding the homeless at one of our Project Homeless Connect events, making meals or harvesting produce for families struggling with access to healthy foods, painting classrooms and creating summer reading kits for children, and outfitting supportive housing units for those who previously had no home, to name just a few.
Words cannot express the gratitude we feel; and so, to convey the meaningful and measurable impact that our volunteers have on us and the individuals and families we serve, we created a Spotify® playlist* with our favorite motivational “fight songs” for you to enjoy. We also took a moment to speak with some of our volunteers about the impact of the time they spend helping others means to them. We also asked a few of them what their favorite “fight songs” were! So, take a read, and then take a listen!
John Hyle, Wells Fargo
What role does volunteering play in your organization? It’s part of the culture at Wells Fargo—to be involved in and serve the communities we live in. Hands-on activities are key for our team members, who participate in activities that run the gamut from working in food banks to providing financial literacy education. One of the great things about Wells Fargo is that volunteerism is truly promoted and endorsed at all levels of the organization. If someone is passionate about a cause, we encourage and support that.
Adam Brinkman, M&T Bank
What does volunteering mean to you? I’m proud to work for an organization that supports its employees to give back to the community. I enjoy working on projects I know make a difference; experiencing that impact firsthand, selfishly, is a great feeling for me. As much as the folks your helping are thankful and appreciative, the wholesome feeling you get from knowing you made a difference or had an impact on someone’s day or situation is a feeling I chase and don’t get often enough.
Marvin Council, Anthem/Amerigroup
Why do you volunteer? I volunteer because I love to help others. Throughout my college years I was involved in many service organizations including my fraternity. Helping others in the community gives me an overwhelming feeling of accomplishment. Many service organizations appreciate monetary donations but time is invaluable in many ways. Ultimately, I volunteer to help the greater cause.
Michelle Johnson, Anthem/Amerigroup
Why do you feel it is important to give back to your community? It makes me feel good helping the people in my community. Also, working for a MCO, I know that there are so many people in need of a helping hand, a smile and sometimes a HUG.
Bronwyn Legette, Cushman Wakefield
How does volunteering affect employee morale? We not only look at the work we do for The United Way as our civic duty, but also as an opportunity to team-build with those employees with whom we wouldn’t necessarily connect with on a daily basis. Building a common set of goals and values through the opportunity to give back to others creates a bond and reinforces that which is the “glue” of our corporate culture.
What’s your favorite “fight” song? “18-Wheeler” by P!nk.
Graham Savage, Cushman Wakefield
What does volunteering mean to you? Volunteering is an opportunity to step out of our comfort zone to recognize those in truly dire need all around us. I am sure many people approach volunteering as just something you are supposed to do as a citizen. I do think it is something we all need to do, but it is devotional, too. It is incumbent on us to step up and help those in need when we can. This is part of understanding our common humanity, and allows us to be grateful for all of the gifts we have.
Douglas Brinkley, Cushman Wakefield
Why do you feel it is important to give back to your community? Because our community’s success ultimately depends on people who are giving and not taking.
Joy Wanner, Cushman Wakefield
Why do you volunteer? I volunteer my time and efforts with the goal of helping someone, even if it’s in the slightest way. Volunteering gives me a sense of pride and the rewarding feeling of contribution and selflessness.
Debra Mann, BGE
Why do you feel it is important to give back to your community? To help those in need and contribute to the common good. Whether it’s volunteering at a local event, helping a neighbor or making a monetary donation, it’s not the act that matters. Volunteering in all shapes and forms strengthens our communities, brings people together and provides us with valuable experience and insight.
Eric Jacobson, BGE
What kind of volunteer engagement opportunities have you participated in? I especially like to volunteer for activities involving food, e.g. meal preparation at Meals on Wheels, Baltimore Station, Moveable Feast, Our Daily Bread, Ronald McDonald House, My Sister’s Place, and Christopher’s Place. For two years, on a bi-weekly basis, I have been a Meals on Wheels grocery shopper for a stay-at-home client.
Ervin McDaniel III, BGE
Why do you volunteer? I feel compelled to volunteer, because I can. There are many people who cannot do things for themselves or for others, so when I am able to assist, to enrich or to help others grow – I am all for it. I have been the beneficiary of many who have volunteered their time, attention, skills and abilities to help me in my journey, so I am more than willing to help others. In the past, I have also underestimated the impact of my presence and the information that I have to share. As an African American male, the value of my presence around younger men and boys is invaluable – I did not always appreciate this, but I have been told that just being seen has had a positive impact on others.
Jan Boyce, BGE
Why do you volunteer? My philosophy: “Work pays my bills, but volunteering fills my heart.”
What’s your favorite “fight” song? “Feels Like Home” by Chantal Kreviazuk
Ryan Coudon, Plano-Coudon Construction
How does volunteering affect employee morale? It’s definitely a positive. More and more, the Millennials want to make a difference and know what difference they are making. They don’t want to just mail money to a cause. They want to roll their sleeves up, get involved, give back, know that their contribution is meaningful and see how they are making a difference. So, I think it is an expectation of the new generation that they are going to have these types of opportunities at the workplace. To be competitive in that marketplace, I think you have to provide those opportunities for engagement.
I think also it is a great escape from the daily grind. You can have some stressful days at work and start to feel a little burnt out. Volunteering lets you step outside your routine, refresh yourself and feel good about giving back to the community. It gives a bigger picture of life than just work. Having the flexibility to do that while you are at work and to not feel guilty about taking some time for a volunteer project is a huge benefit and a huge morale booster. It’s important to get away every now and then, and feel that you are participating in something bigger than yourself.
What does volunteering mean to you? It feels good to be able to give back to the community that has been so good to us. It is so important for us who are so fortunate to give back and to enable this continuous improvement. As I have gotten older, I have also developed a deeper pride in our city and I want Baltimore to be the best it can be. When you hear bad headlines spread around, Brett (Plano) and I both find ourselves wanting more and more to be an advocate for the city and highlight the positives about Baltimore. At Plano-Coudon, positivity is part of our culture too and that feeds into our community work.
Sue Radtke, Plano-Coudon Construction
Why do you volunteer? I’m a huge animal lover. I feel that if I don’t volunteer and foster, then some of the animals won’t have a chance. By fostering, you save two lives — the animal that you take in and the animal that you make room for in a shelter. Some of the animals we get have been rehabilitated. They have gone from being completely shut down and not wanting to interact with anybody, to thriving in their new home and being loved. If we didn’t do what we do, they wouldn’t have that opportunity.
Pippa Duggan, Plano-Coudon Construction
Why do you volunteer? I like to make a difference and it gives me confidence. I think it is interesting to see how you can make a difference out there in the world. And I meet people and make lots of new friends.
Ryan Morton, Plano-Coudon Construction
Why do you volunteer? I was in the Marines for four years. I served in Iraq. With all these veterans, I know for a fact that they would put their lives at risk for me so I try to help. Plano-Coudon has been great. They have been nothing but supportive. And every year, they donate $100 to whatever charity I ask them to put it towards.
Andrew Hooker, Plano-Coudon Construction
Why do you volunteer? Giving back is the right thing to do. We have jobs. We have money. And we have time and talents we can give back to others who are struggling. That was one of the things that really attracted me to Plano-Coudon when I was looking for a new job. They brought up that volunteering and giving back to the community was important to the company and they even give employees paid time off to go volunteer. Now that I have been here for a while, it is nice to see that they really stand up to that. It’s not just something they say, it’s something they are actually doing.
Mike Junkin, Plano-Coudon Construction
What volunteering opportunities have you participated in? I volunteer once a month at Catholic Charities serving breakfast at Our Daily Bread. And I have done a couple of United Way events. I think my favorite event was through United Way and it was a day on a farm where all the food produced went to food banks and soup kitchens. We were harvesting cabbage and lettuce. That was really fun. We had a whole truckload of cabbage. You could really see what you were doing. It was tangible and it was obviously supplying food for a lot of people. That was a great event.
Tom Lotz, Plano-Coudon Construction
What volunteering opportunities have you participated in? Brett Plano does the breakfast service at Our Daily Bread, so I have done that about three times. I think it’s really cool. I have always been the type of person who wanted to do that kind of stuff, but I didn’t until I came to Plano-Coudon and saw people actually getting involved. Brett and Ryan actually do this. They don’t sit there and preach to us to do it. They volunteer themselves and they invite us to join in. I think that’s the right way, leading by example. People might not have the courage to ask other people to get involved. They give you that courage by their example. And by having these regular, volunteer events, like the breakfasts at Our Daily Bread, it also makes it much easier to get involved.
*Don’t have Spotify? Simply copy this list into any of your other music apps and enjoy!
For more than 90 years, United Way of Central Maryland has been improving lives in the communities it serves: Anne Arundel County, Baltimore City, Baltimore County, Carroll County, Harford County and Howard County, Maryland.
United Way of Central Maryland is a 501(c)(3) tax exempt organization! | Tax ID: 52-0591543